The Turk Let Loose
MASSACRE, OUTRAGE, AND UNPARALLELED TORTURE
WOMEN AND GIRLS BURNED ALIVE
Viscount Bryce has collected into a volume of nearly 700 pages the evidence which has steadily been accumulating for the past year of the wiping out of the Armenian nation bv the Turks. We quote a few extracts from this appalling series of narratives. The story of the massacres of Erzindjan is told by two Danish Red Cross nurses.
“In March 1915 we learned through an American doctor that the Turkish Government was preparing for a massacre on a grand scale ... At the beginning of June, Staff-Surgeon A. told us that the whole Armenian population of Erzindjan and the neighbourhood would be transported to Mesopotamia. On June 11 a party of Regular troops (belonging to the 86th Cavalry Brigade) were sent out ‘to keep the Kurds in order.’ We heard subsequently from these soldiers how the defenceless Armenians had been massacred to the last one. The butchery had taken four hours. The Soldiers told us that there were ox-carts ready to carry the corpses to the river and remove every trace of the massacre.
“Next day there was a regular battue through the cornfields. From that time on convoys of exiles were continually arriving, all on their way to the slaughter ... The Victims had their hands tied behind their backs, and were thrown down from the cliffs into the river.”
The narrative goes on to describe how, one by one, a large convoy of exiles from Baibourt had been massacred an cast into depths of the gorge; how women were violated, and children had their brains battered out.
A German eye-witness recounting the terrible story of the massacre in the Moush district says:— “In Harpout and Mezré the people ... have had their eyebrows plucked out and their breasts cut off, their nails torn off; their torturers hew off their feet or else hammer nails into them, just as they do in shoeing horses.
Another German religions organ, the “Sannenaufgang,” describes the massacre of about 5,000 people from Tel-Armen and neighbouring villages. “The people were thrown alive down wells or into the fire” which had been kindled for that purpose. “For a whole month corpses were seen floating down the River Euphrates nearly every day, often in batches of from two to six corpses bound together. The male corpses are in many cases hideously mutilated, and the female corpses are ripped open.”
Roupen, one of the laeders in Saasoun, states that early in July 1915, after the Turkish had “explained earlier massacres as due to a deplorable misunderstanding,” the authorities ordered the Armenians in Moush to lay down their arms and pay a large money ransom. The leading Armenians were subjected to revolting tortures. Their fingernails and their toenails were forcibly extracted; their teeth were knocked out, and in some cases their noses were whittled down, the victims being thus done to death under shocking, lingering angonies. The female relatives of the victims were outraged in public before the eyes of their mutilated husbands and brothers. “The shrieks and death cries of the victims filled the air, yet they did not move the Turkish beast.”
Many were herded into various camps and bayoneted in cold blood ... The shortest method of disposing of the women and children concentrated in the various camps was to burn them.
An Armenian lady whose narrative has been communicated by the American Belief Committee says:— “The worst and most unimaginable horrors were reserved for us at the banks of the Euphrates. The mutilated bodies of women, girls, and little children made everybody shudder. The brigands were doing all sorts of awful deeds to the women and girls ... The brigands and gendarmes threw into the river all the remaining children under fifteen years old. Those that could swim were shot down as they struggled in the water.”
Another document communicated by the American Committee tells how a convoy of 18,000 Armenians, with the exception of 185 women and children, were massacred in batches in the course of a seventy-days march after all the women and girls had been violated. On the fifty-second day they were all stripped and compelled to march completely naked under a scorching sun. On the sixtieth day all but 300 had been murdered. On the sixty-fourth day a number were burned alive.